Some like it hot, some like it hotter, and some years ago, the most popular restaurant for spicy Sichuan cuisine was the Red Pepper in Causeway Bay.
It was certainly a favourite with those over for the International Races as the reviews were good- hot reviews- and with many staying at the Grand Hyatt, the restaurant was just a convenient ten minute walk away from the hotel. It still is.
Though the Red Pepper remains a favourite, especially with tourists and newcomers to Hong Kong, a plethora of Sichuan restaurants have opened since. Sadly, most are more of the same, which is why we always settle for Manchu China, formerly Bistro Manchu, and mentioned here several times before. So why stop now…
Though the cuisine is Manchurian, there’s a distinct Sichuan flavour to the dishes. Just ask Tommy, the flamboyant and absolutely candid Manager, to tell you what’s REALLY good and let the chef know that you’re fearless when it comes to attacking spicy food.
Not being disloyal to Manchu China, but we remembered how much we enjoyed a recent dinner at Sichuan House (7/F, M88, Wellington Place, 2-8 Wellington Street, Central).
The thing about “going Sichuan” is that for one reason or the other, we have very seldom had this cuisine for lunch. Perhaps this has to do with many of the restaurants serving cuisine from this region in China making it mouth numbingly hot. And though there’s a time and place for Novocain, returning to the office or even home for a little lie down feeling as if your tongue has taken over your face is not a good look nor does it help your communications skills.
Sichuan food for dinner offers you the room to stretch along with the time to stretch. Or at least recover from a chilli attack. At least to us, Sichuan House is the best restaurant of its kind in Hong Kong. If tall, watch your head. The ceiling is somewhat low.
Ordering is pretty simple as one dish that must be tasted is what’s actually called “mouth watering chicken”. And it is and did succeed in making our saliva glands overflow. Yes, our mouths runneth over like a Kanye West rant about respecting Donald Trump. And you thought the Kardashians were missing a few light bulbs in the building. But returning to Sichuan House, there are certain dishes one MUST order like their Shredded Beef in Chilli Oil, Shredded Spicy Chicken, Chilli Chicken and Ma Po Dao Fu- spicy bean curd.
Yes, yes, to some, bean curd or tofu is an acquired taste as many- for some reason, women- seem to gag on what they keep referring to as “the slimy texture”.
Having said this, it took us years to warm to tofu, but what sold us on it was our first taste of Ma Po Dao Fu, which should be enjoyed with a bowl of steamed rice. If you need some extra zing, ask for a small serving of chilli oil. Not chilli sauce, but chilli oil. See below.
Frankly, we can eat anything with chilli oil- omelettes, bread, fries, escargots, pizza, fish and chips. Well, you get the picture. Oh, add dim sum to that list. Having dined with trainer Caspar Fownes numerous times, we swear he bathes in the stuff. It’s probably what gives him that extra spring in his step.
Retrace your steps to Hong Kong with these former Fast Track #HKIR Tour Guides: